Since its inception in 1936, Interflow has carved out its place as a leader in pipeline infrastructure. Today, the company is regarded as Australia and New Zealand’s leading provider of trenchless pipeline solutions, developing innovative methods to extend the operational life of water networks across Australasia.
Employing over 600 field crews and office-based staff, Interflow has completed works for major water authorities and government bodies in the watermains, wastewater, stormwater, and culvert sectors.
Interflow approached Derby Rubber in 2001 with a unique problem: how to streamline the lateral connection repair of pipelines for customers and make this process less invasive for surrounding communities.
Interflow had previously developed a product called Interfit to facilitate the trenchless installation of its lateral connection seal. However, one vital component was missing – an inflatable ‘balloon’ that could enable the seal to adhere to the host pipe.
Interflow’s Operations Manager – Engineering, Kyle Twidale, shares how the two companies worked together to identify a solution.
“Derby Rubber was prepared to go down a development path with us, understand our needs and work through multiple design iterations to get to a solution,” Kyle Twidale said.
“Given we were designing something that hadn’t existed before, we had to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them in a continuous improvement process,” he said.
Interfit is a world-class system that has revolutionised the way that lateral repairs are made in residential areas to prevent infiltration, exfiltration and root ingress between the liner and the lateral pipe wall. When the Interfit packer arrives at the desired junction, the ‘balloon’ component, designed by Derby Rubber, is inflated to the desired pressure. This causes the resin-impregnated seal to be pressed hard against the host pipe.
The packer is held in position for 30 minutes, to allow the seal to cure. After the seal has cured, the packer can be deflated and withdrawn, leaving the final seal intact and the integrity of the relined pipe restored. This process can then be repeated until all the house service lines in a street have been successfully sealed.
The durability of Derby Rubber’s ‘balloon’, paired with the robustness of Interflow’s Interfit packer, means that the process of relining lateral connections is more environmentally friendly, as the installation is non-disruptive, does not require excavation and the risk of sewerage surcharge is minimised.
Listening to Interflow and working together with their engineers and design team, Derby Rubber produced a solution for them that not only met Interflow’s needs but far exceeded them.
A fine example of Interflow’s and Derby Rubber’s co-creative approach in action, the Interfit system minimises community disruption and increases efficiency on site.
Kyle Twidale highlights how this innovation has profoundly reduced potential construction disruptions to the community.
“We partnered to solve a problem to ultimately deliver our customers and the community with a more robust, non-invasive solution,” Kyle said. “Rather than digging up multiple residential properties to seal the connection between the house service lines and sewer main, we can now conduct multiple repairs from a single access point, allowing the community to go about their lives largely uninterrupted.”
Derby Rubber’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Clayton, outlines why this partnership has been so successful.
“Sustainability and innovation are at the core of both Interflow and Derby Rubber. Our manufacturing team worked closely with the engineers at Interflow to create a solution that worked in harmony with the Interfit system,” he said. “Through this highly collaborative process, we’ve improved the effective lifespan of the rubber from 2-3 installs, to an average of 50-60 installs per rubber, and we produced a system that was internationally competitive.”
The Interfit solution is an innovative product built to the highest quality standards by like-minded organisations with the community front of mind. Both Interflow and Derby Rubber agree that supporting local innovations like these is a win for everyone – our employees, our customers, and the communities we serve.